Immortals of Aveum is the first game from Ascendant Studios, a new AAA studio founded by Brett Robbins, former Sledgehammer Games creative director on Call of Duty games. That background in Call of Duty can be seen in Immortals of Aveum, but does it have the magic to really succeed? I am not completely sure, and let me explain why.
Game Name: Immortals Of Aveum Platform(s): PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S (reviewed), PC Publisher(s): EA
Developer(s): Ascendant Studios
Release Date: August 22nd 2023
Let’s start with the story, it takes place in the magical world of Aveum. Where there is a constant war known as the Everwar for control of the magic in the world. You play as Jak a brash young man who is thrust into this war after his town is attacked by the Rasham Empire. Jak is unique in that he is able to wield all three types of magic in Aveum. These are Red, Green, and Blue but more on those later! This ability, along with Jak’s encounter with the Rasham Empire, leads to him being recruited and trained by Kirkan the leader of the Immortals. An order of magic wielders called Magni. They fight against the Rasham Empire to protect their kingdom of Lucium.
As the story goes on, you encounter some delightful characters. Firstly, Kirkan, who serves as a wonderful mentor figure, is wise but flawed, brought to life expertly by Gina Torres (Suits, Matrix, Serenity). Jak himself is like a jock in a teen movie, cocky and brash but emotionally venerable at the same time. Darren Barnet puts in a strong performance here as Jak. One scene in particular from the early game will stick with me for a long time. It was highly motivational, and I could feel the emotion behind the words like Jak was real. Of the other characters I encountered by far, my favourite was Devyn. He is essentially the comic relief here among a bunch of very serious characters. Antonio Aakeel does a fantastic job delivering these wise-cracking jokes.
Fast Paced Fun
Now that you have context for my experience with this game, let’s discuss the gameplay because there was not a single moment where I wasn’t enjoying myself. At its’ core Immortals of Aveum is a First-Person Shooter with some RPG elements. Remember those Red, Green, and Blue types of magic I mentioned earlier, think of them as your three main weapons. Red is chaotic yet powerful and feels like a shotgun or grenade launcher. Green is more supportive in nature, eventually allowing you to gain life by killing enemies with its almost machine gun-like rate of fire. Blue is more precise and defensive firing it often feels like a sniper rifle, hard-hitting and accurate at long range. You switch between these three with a tap of Y on Xbox, just like switching a weapon in Call of Duty and reloading with X. Defensively, you can shield yourself by holding LB or dodge using the Blink ability with a tap of B.
You can also gain powerful attacks (spells), which can be activated by holding RB and pressing the corresponding face button. Just beware that these attacks have a limited number of uses depending on how much mana you have, something that can be upgraded along with all attacks and defensive abilities.
Levelling and Upgrades
Upgrades can be crafted at a forge that requires money and the essence of Red, Green, or Blue magic. All of these resources you can gain through combat and finding chests. The forge will allow you to get health and mana upgrades, along with upgrading weapons and accessories, which may then gain different buffs. As you engage in combat, you will level up and gain accession points, these are skill points that can be put into one of the three different types of magic for upgraded abilities and attacks. I concentrated on green magic upgrades since I found it the most fun to attack with and wanted the healing buffs.
The world is broken up into sections for you to explore, and early on, you may find certain areas you can’t get to; that’s right there is a light Metroidvania touch to the exploration here. As you gain more abilities, such as being able to hover over gaps and more, you may want to return to previously visited places and find their hidden treasures. Being so segmented does mean a lot of loading screens which aren’t always quick but exploring is fun and can be worth doing to get better gear etc. I was just too engaged in the story to bother going backward too much.
Immortals of Aveum is a beautiful game most of the time. The magic effects are eye-popping at times, but the real stand out for me was the facial animations that really bring the emotions of characters to life. Environments are wonderfully colourful and vibrant with a sci-fi high-tech edge to them. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, the game can suffer from some serious pop-in, especially on camera cuts during cutscenes which takes away from this otherwise beautiful game.
Something that was consistently beautiful during my time was the score by Jamie K, it felt grand and, dare I say, magical at times. That scene I spoke about with Jak earlier was so impactful because of the way the score amplified every word being said. I loved this score! The rest of the sound design was something I honestly didn’t notice too much, but that suggested it wasn’t doing anything glaring wrong. It just didn’t stand out amongst the, at times, hectic gameplay.
I just wish I got to see more of this story, world, and these wonderful characters! However, after playing for about six hours, my save file ended up being corrupted. I enjoyed the story, gameplay, and characters enough that I wanted to restart, and so I did. Unfortunately, just a few short hours later, my game unexpectedly crashed during a cutscene and corrupted my save again. Outside of this one crash and save file issue, the actual performance on Series X is fairly solid on the latest patch. That said, it can suffer from bad pop-in at times, mostly during camera cuts.
What I Played I Enjoyed
Immortals of Aveum is a game that I genuinely enjoyed every second I could play. The story, while seemingly a bit predictable, had strong, likable characters with great performances to back it up. Combat was fast-paced like Doom but more forgiving and not quite as chaotic. Using spells and firing magic around was delightful every step of the way. Had I been able to finish this game, it had the potential to review much higher for me, but as it stands, it’s a good game that I can’t fully recommend due to being unable to have the full experience. At a different time, I absolutely would start this game again; that’s how much I enjoyed it, but as we all know, 2023 is packed, so it goes into my backlog for now.
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Immortals Of Aveum - I Want To Love It!
Immortals of Aveum is a game that I genuinely enjoyed every second I could play. It was well-paced, with fun and engaging gameplay. I want to love it but that love is limited by the fact I was unable to finish it.
Great Performances and Characters
Fast and Fun Gameplay
Score is Exceptional
Bad Pop-in at times
Save File issues left me unable to finish the game